Thank you to everyone for supporting us at Golden Paw Gala! We raised over $27,000 for the animals!
Victor Timmons, a long time advocate, supporter, and volunteer for the animals wrote this poem about Cocoa after the gala. Cocoa was the first animal helped by ARF 11 years ago and lived a long, happy life with Victor and Tina before he passed away in 2012.
I would like to tell you a short story about a true hero dog. Rarely does a dog, a ordinary dog leave behind a story, a legacy, a beginning such as Cocoa did.
I went to an event Saturday night that Animal Rescue Foundation of Everett (ARF) has been putting on for the last 3 years named Golden Paw Gala. It is a big fund raiser that goes toward helping the animals at the Everett Animal Shelter (EAS). I came into the room where the event was being held and there he was again, bigger then life, Cocoa in a Power Point slid show. Caught of guard I was at first sad remembering and then filled with happiness and finely pride as l looked around the room. This event, these people, ARF all started with Cocoa.
Cocoa came to the shelter as a stray, middle aged and sick with kennel cough about 10 years ago. At the time the EAS was just beginning its transformation and ARF was just barely getting started. Cocoa came to my home as a foster so he could get well and get adopted. It was soon discovered that there was much more wrong with him than simple kennel cough. His eyes wept all the time and he could not walk well on his back leg after playing for a bit. He was in rough shape and at that time in danger of being euthanized.
We came in and explained the what was going on with him knowing full and well what the likely outcome was going to be. The staff went to the newly formed ARF and they elected to make Cocoa the very first dog they were going to help. He received a 3 operations. One on his eyes to keep the eyelids from rubbing on the all the time and 2 knee operations. This was a tough time for a ball driven lab that had 3 other dogs running around doing dog stuff. Cocoa recovered after many, many months of kennel rest and rehab.
Cocoa went on to being ARF mascot for a bit. He was Grand Marshal at 4th July parade, did some fund raising at a baseball game a few other things and then retired. He went on and lived a ordinary dogs life. He was not a special dog in most senses of word. He was an just your average lab. Not well breed, not really all that smart. He never tracked down a bad man, won a dog show, became a great gun dog or really anything. What he did do was "be the first".
Cocoa represents a turning point in what EAS has become today. EAS is the top shelter in our area. It is the leader in what a public shelter can become. He is the beginning of ARF, and organization that has helped save hundreds of animals. Animals that went on to live out theirs lives. Animals that without the funding that ARF has provided would have been euthanized. Lastly he was my best friend and I miss him everyday.
So as I looked around the room and I smiled. I smiled knowing that all the well dressed people, all of the laughs, all of the conversations, all of the money that was being raised all started with one plain, ordinary lab named Cocoa. A rare legacy to leave behind for a dog. That legacy is Cocoa’s ghost.
Written by Victor Timmons.